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THE MARRIAGE BLESSING: INTRODUCTION

Us!Even as we planned our February Vegas wedding we knew that a grander celebration for friends and family would take place in 2003. My mother was the master of ceremonies for the July Marriage Blessing. Her friends, contacts, and planning talents resulted in the nicest wedding Art and I ever attended, let alone "starred in." She did an amazing job and everything that went right that day is to her credit.

On a snowy April day in 2003, Art and I accompanied my parents to see the property and taste food samples at The Washington Crossing Inn. The Inn is an historical wonder, as it marks the spot where George Washington crossed the Delaware river. It's a beautiful location both inside and out and Art and I were most impressed. We tasted a good number of foods last spring and admired the incredible setting.

The good folks at The Inn (namely Frank) suggested we have an outdoor affair. Art and I resisted the idea ... we hate the summer and the heat. After several months of going back and forth on the issue it was decided that half of the reception would be outdoors and half would be inside. What started as an "elegant cocktail reception" turned into a full sit-down dinner!

InviteWe met with Father Picard of The Church of St. Andrew in Newtown, my hometown parish, in April. Most of my youth was spent in The Olde Church of St. Andrew, which is a beautiful and historic 124-year-old church. Fr. Picard is one of the kindest men I've ever known and I was very happy to know that he would be the one to bless our marriage. We went over the liturgy and stated our intentions. We originally opted for no music in the liturgy but we ended up with song when the day arrived.

Seeing how Art is an artist we insisted on designing our own invites. It ended up being more of a pain than we anticipated. But the majority of the invitations were mailed in early June while giving our attendees advanced verbal warning of the date. The bulk of the invites went out to family and friends of the family. Roughly 100 invites were mailed and 120 people attended when everything was said and done.

Since neither Art nor I dance these days (and if we were to dance it would be to music most people wouldn't like) we had problems settling on a DJ. Fortunately, my mother stepped in and opted for a harp/flute/Spanish guitar trio and passed along a host of unusual song requests ... including Monkees tunes.

And because we were unhappy with the Vegas wedding photos, my mom led me to a local photography group called Casual Candids. One of my biggest gripes about weddings is the intrusiveness of most photographers and that was NOT Casual Candid's M.O.. So they won the honor of trying to make Art and I look cute come July 20th.

Our friend and neighbor Lisa provided the bouquets and flowers for the celebration. Lisa lives next door so I was able to watch her and her partner fuss and toil over the arrangements. They did an amazing job as you can see in the photos which appear on the next ten pages.

Weird Al TicketAfter many months of my mother's expert planning, the wedding weekend finally arrived. Art and I spent the final few days creating the reception gifts. We were still stuffing jars with candy the Saturday night before the ceremony ... but we took a few hours off the night before the re-wedding to see ... WEIRD AL YANKOVIC.

Attending a Weird Al show the night before your own wedding might seem insane to many people. It probably was. But Art and I have bonded over Al in several bleaker periods in our relationship and as a result we NEVER miss Al when he rolls into town. It almost seemed as if fate decreed that Al should play Philadelphia the night before our re-wedding. At the concert we met up with several old college friends of mine who came from Baltimore to attend the re-wedding. It wasn't the best Al concert we'd seen, but it was nostalgic fun just the same.

pre-photosThe morning of the wedding was a thrill and a half. The first thing we discovered was that we had no water. Not just no hot water ... NO WATER. Ah the joys of living in a 100-year-old house. By the time that disaster was reconciled we were running late. My hair/makeup trip to Lords and Ladies went without a hitch and we drove at break-neck speeds to Bucks County to make our pre-wedding photo appointment. Another disaster struck in the form of spilled coffee on my dress (Oh Lord I was going to cry) but thanks to Chinese satin and a swab of bouquet water, the coffee ran right off the dress without leaving a mark.

As with the Washington Crossing Inn, we resisted the photographers' wish to keep us outdoors ... and we lost the fight. Luckily, it was a nice day and not too hot ... but still stifling if you're wearing winter wedding get-ups ... which we were. I really didn't want to take time out of the reception to pose for photos so we decided in advance to do the "glamour" shots ahead of the ceremony/reception. It worked out well. We drove up to Bucks County Community College for the hour-long photography session and it went smoothly.

We headed to the church from the college with about 15 minutes to spare, in which time Fr. Picard gently helped spiff us up and calm us down.

The Catholic marriage blessing ceremony was very spiritual and accessible. I was extremely surprised to see the number of people who turned out ... old gradeschool friends and teachers. Family and college friends. It was quite a nice mix, and the church was completely filled.

Olde Church of Saint AndrewWhen the ceremony was over, Art and I hopped into the car and fled to the Washington Crossing Inn. It was decided that we'd skip the "greeting" line at the church and go straight to the party portion. The first part of the reception was an outdoor Hors D'oeuvres/cocktail hour. We were supposed to pose for more photos but Art and I got sidetracked inside The Inn. We forgot all about the photos and instead just headed outside to mingle with the guests! Oh well ...

Somehow we missed the majority of the Hors D'oeuvres ... I think I snagged one. We were distracted by the people and the gentle harp renditions of Monkees tunes. But everyone else said the Hors D'oeuvres were great.

After a lovely yet hot hour (at that point we were REALLY regretting breaking out the winter duds) the party moved inside and the food orgy began in earnest. The cuisine served was the absolute best food I've ever tasted at a wedding ... bar none. There were antipastos, slices of turkey that melted in your mouth, and a thousand other delights to choose from.

Outdoor cocktail hourA family friend named Fr. Ken said grace over the meal, and that was followed by two warm and funny toasts -- one by my father and one by Art's friend Charlie.

Art and I went from table to table chatting up guests and family. Somehow we missed the giant dessert table that was erected in the back of the room. We didn't even see it until the pictures arrived! No matter ... there were as many desserts as food courses. A line of servers appeared bearing flaming baked Alaska that was delicious.

You can experience other key moments of the reception that defy wordy descriptions within the following photo pages. Key moments such as: Art dropping me on the floor!

The hours passed quickly and by 8:30 we found ourselves saying goodbye to a line of our guests.It worked out well in that way I think ... usually I leave any given wedding without having seen the bride and groom for hours beforehand.

Flaming dessertWe gathered our gifts and headed out to a quaint bed and breakfast nearby called Inn The Woods. My mother reserved rooms for ourselves, Art's family, and our friends Tony and Lisa (the woman who arranged the flowers). We drank wine outside on the lovely property with Tony, Lisa, and the proprietors of the Inn until midnight.

After breakfast the next morning we drove over to my parents house to discover my mom had already developed some photos ... very nice photos at that. We ogled the pictures over pizza. The day was horribly hot and we thanked our lucky stars that Sunday was cool by comparison.

At home that night we opened our gifts as we watched endless hours of Star Trek (one of our gifts was a DVD boxset of Star Trek episodes). It was appropriate viewing given our mushy mood. We spent Tuesday packing and tying up loose ends before flying out to San Francisco for a re-honeymoon.

Considering that Art and I knew each other 13 years before getting engaged it's neat that we had TWO memorable weddings. The "official" wedding for friends and family was not only perfect, but it was the nicest wedding anyone could ask for. And again, I thank my mother and father for putting so much of themselves into the celebration. It was everything a wedding should be and more and the spirit of event was relaxed and friendly.

We deeply and sincerely appreciate everyone who attended and contributed to our special day!


A picture is worth a thousand words ... and there are roughly 40,000 words left to this story here on the website. We invite you to peruse the photos on the following pages for a more complete grasp of our July 20th wedding celebration.

VIEW OUR PHOTOS


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